Top 5 Civil Engineering Trends of 2019

  1. Compulsory BIM on infrastructure projects

This year we did our first project that mandated the use of BIM. In this case it was a 4D model. The level in maturity in the definitions and standards around BIM are fantastic and make BIM so much easier to implement.

There is also now the ISO 19650-1:2018, that was released end 2018/ beginning 2019.

This does mean that offering BIM to your clients is unlikely to blow their minds and therefore you see a lot more people offering Digital Twins without a lot of definition about what it actually means.

2. 5G is here. Now what.

This one is quite new, Optus and Telstra have both started rolling out 5G, although not at full bandwidth yet.

This for me is the lynchpin for the all the digital tech from digital twins, IoT, LiDAR, AR etc. I don’t know too much about 5G, but I will be testing it out in the coming weeks when for some construction uses, once my new phone arrives.

3. 3D Printed houses. Proof of concept stage.

Although house building is ripe for disruption, I do not feel that we have had a break out year in this area. I am sure the big house and land companies are investing big into this and maybe in 2020 we will see some progress.

It would be great to see robots building houses using recycled material if possible. Benefits are, improved safety, speed and reduced cost in reduced labour.

The old Holden Ford factories could be pumping out a production line of houses to feed the 24,000 lots a year sold outside Melbourne?

4. Augmented Reality is here, will it be more useful than Virtual Reality?

In most engineering circles, we enjoy using VR to look at 3D models from time to time… but… it doesn’t really add a huge amount of value is the general consensus.  That said we will switch to VR clash detection meetings as it will be a no cost add on to projects. It is more valuable to non-technical stakeholders for visualisation.

We are more excited by Augmented Reality in the field. This has the potential to add huge value to utility relocation projects. We will be testing this more over the next year.

5. Great teams still matter

It is easy to get wrapped in exciting technology, but it is important to remember that the technology is here to assist great teams. The best engineers still deserve more recognition and reward for their great work. As the year ends, it’s a good time to thank all of the fantastic people we have had the honour to work with this year. Enjoy an end of year break and come back even better in 2020.